Moveable Feast: National Parks

Evan Frost | MPR News

Moveable Feast: National Parks


September 09, 2016

Both our State and National Parks are celebrating anniversaries this year — the National Parks are celebrating their 100th, our State Park its 125th — so we wanted to talk about some favorites, which are featured in this month's Minnesota Monthly.

As far as National Parks, Voyageurs is the only one in Minnesota, and it's one of the least visited because it's up near the state's northern border (the area where French-Canadian fur traders used to travel), which feels as remote as the adjacent Boundary Waters. A full third of the park's area is water, so it attracts visitors for boating and fishing. If you're not much of an outdoors-type, you can still experience its beauty by renting a houseboat — that way you can relax in a hot tub while looking at the stars and sleep in a real bed.

But the National Park that most Minnesotans visit is South Dakota's Badlands, in combination with the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. If you've never been or haven't been since you were a kid, it's worth a trip. With an adult perspective, you can actually understand the geologic forces that created the Badlands's striped layers and understand the controversy of carving four white presidents into sacred Native American land. Plus you can see a bison herd up close, check out the gunslinger history in Deadwood, or pick up a fool's gold souvenir at Wall Drug.